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Hyundai Country Calendar


Hard Yakka

This episode screened on August 11, 2007.

'Hard Yakka'

Imagine falling in love with something you know is going to cause you grief.

That's what happened to Colin and Marg Baynes who farm near the foothills of Te Urewera National Park, inland from Wairoa.

When Colin and Marg were first shown Makapua Station 14 years ago, they didn't like what they saw. 

"The first two kilometres from the road to the homestead were covered in blackberry. It was rubbish," says Colin.  But as the real estate agent drove them over the hill, "a beautiful valley appeared and I told her to stop the car".

That was the moment Colin and Marg fell in love with Makapua, a 1480-hectare farm much of which was covered in reverting scrub.

The task ahead was daunting.  "One of my mates whom I respect as a farmer told me I must be wired to the moon buying this place", Colin says.

Each year Colin and Marg clear, burn and re-seed 20 hectares of reverting scrub at Makapua. They use an old bulldozer to mow down the tops.  Colin uses a chainsaw and Marg spends long days on the end of a scrub bar.

A couple of years back this gruelling physical work almost proved too much for Marg.  Despite endless spraying and burning, the blackberry was growing back.  "I was ready to give up," Marg says.

Colin says he, too, would have walked if that's what it took to make his wife and family happy.  "If it was making us both unhappy, then yes, no question.  But there is a lot of our sweat out here behind us."

Fourteen years on the pair are still at Makapua.  Marg, one of the first women in New Zealand to gain a diploma in agriculture, runs the station's breeding programme.  Colin heads the deer farm and the beef-finishing unit - so there's a line drawn through the middle of the farm.

"That side is hers and this is mine," says Colin.  Marg retorts, "I'm getting better at taking his advice."

They have five children all of whom can shear between 200 and 300 sheep a day.  But Marg betters them all - she can still shear 400 a day.

If all that hard work is not enough, each year between the middle of March and the end of April Colin and Marg host hunting groups who come to this rural outpost in search of the magnificent trophy deer that summer over at Makapua.

Colin, who has been guiding hunters for 12 years, loves this side of his farming life.

The Country Calendar team filmed during the annual deer roar and trekked with Colin and his paying clients through some of the most idyllic native bush in the country.

For more information about hunting at Makapua Station:  Go to